The first official brushback will be thrown today in the negotiations between the Yankees and Derek Jeter. The Yankees will have to decide whether to offer arbitration to their free agents, and they're expected to do so with Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
But they won't offer arbitration to Jeter, sources say.
The Yankees' belief is that their current three-year, $45 million offer is fair, and that by offering arbitration to Jeter, they essentially would bail him out after a down year. Jeter might make $22-23 million through arbitration. The Yankees feel that in the past, Jeter has fairly negotiated from his standing in the marketplace -- when he went to arbitration in 1999, when he negotiated a 10-year, $189 million deal in 2001. And now the Yankees feel these talks should reflect Jeter's place in the market; they also believe that no other team would be willing to pay him what they have offered.
Here's one big factor working against Jeter in this negotiation: While the Yankees want him and are offering him above what his market value is, they operate in the knowledge that if Jeter doesn't re-sign -- if he actually walks away -- then his departure would not be a mortal blow to their pennant hopes in 2011. If Jeter walked away in 2001, that would have been different; he was an exceptional player then.
Now he is a good player, but far from irreplaceable.
Around the league
• The Diamondbacks are trying to cut down on their strikeouts, which is one reason they are willing to deal Justin Upton, and rival evaluators wonder if the perception that Upton doesn't have a 24/7 motor is another factor in the trade talks. The teams thought to be in the best position, in terms of what they can offer, to make a deal for Upton: the Marlins, Rays and Blue Jays. A small part of the Rays' thinking is that the acquisition of Justin Upton might be good for his brother B.J. Upton, because folks who know both believe they would naturally push each other and thrive while playing for the same team.
Justin Upton could be worth the investment for the Mariners, writes Geoff Baker, though there were a number of reports that Upton has Seattle as a no-trade destination.
• One of the American League's best hitters has been cleared to play for the Indians. Cleveland officials were confident that this would work out, but the fact that the issue has been settled has to be something of a relief.
• Scott Boras' alleged practice of lending money to young Dominican players is under scrutiny. The union should not allow this kind of thing to go on, either overseas or domestically. Many agents will tell you that payments and loans are at the center of some agents luring clients away from other agents.
• Today teams will announce whether they intend to offer arbitration to their free agents. Here are stories on some of the players involved: